1 Peter 2:23 MEANING

1 Peter 2:23
(23) Who, when he was reviled.--This "who" might be rendered by and yet He. Conscious though He was of being blameless (John 8:46), it did not make Him retaliate upon His accusers by counter-accusations, true though these might have been. The word here translated "revile" is the same which reappears in 1 Peter 3:9 as "railing," and a sample of what it means is given in John 9:28. The servants would be particularly liable to be thus abused, and instances are not wanting in the comic poets where they lose their self-control under it, and openly rate their owners in return. The "suffering," on the other hand, implies actual bodily maltreatment, "buffeting" (1 Peter 2:20) and the like, to which the slaves could not answer directly by striking in return, but would sometimes take their revenge by "threats" of what they would do--run away, or burn the house, or poison the food, or do little acts of spite. Instances of our Lord's silence or meekness under "reviling" may be seen in John 7:20; John 8:40; Matthew 12:24, as well as in the accounts of the Passion. There are no recorded instances, until the last day of His life, of His "suffering" in the sense here intended; but the tense of the verbs "reviled," "threatened," "committed," shows that the writer was not thinking exclusively of any one occasion, but of our Lord's constant habit, though naturally there would be uppermost in St. Peter's mind the hours while he stood warming himself at Caiaphas' fire, with the denial on his lips, and saw the Messiah blindfold and buffeted. He is also thinking of Isaiah 53:7.

But committed himself.--This was His only form of revenge. As the Greek does not express the grammatical object of the verb, it is better not to supply one so definite as "Himself" or "His cause," rather, "but would leave it to Him that judgeth righteously." M. Renan (Antechrist, p. 117) says that this passage "requires it to be understood that the incident of Jesus praying for His murderers was not known by Peter;" and other critics have held the same view. But (1) St. Peter, as we have said, is speaking of what was the constant habit of Jesus, not of what He did on the day of His crucifixion only. (2) The word does not necessarily imply any act or word of direct appeal to God to judge between His murderers and Him; on the contrary, the leading thought is that of "passing the matter over" to God (comp. Romans 12:19), by simply refusing to take any action in self-defence. (3) It would have been unlike the usual method of the Epistles to make direct reference to any of the minor details of our Lord's history. (4) Such a reference here would be beyond the point, for St. Peter said nothing in 1 Peter 2:19 about praying for the bad masters, and here he is only justifying by Christ's example the position he had laid down there.

To him that judgeth righteously.--God is described in the aspect which is most reassuring to men who are suffering unjustly (2 Thessalonians 1:5). This looks back to that "consciousness of God" spoken of in 1 Peter 2:19. There is a curious various reading which is adopted by the Vulgate, though without any solid authority, and evidently a mere blunder, the interpretation of which we may leave to those who are committed to it: "He gave Himself over to him (or, to one) who judgeth unrighteously." St. Cyprian seems to have understood it of our Lord's voluntary self-surrender to Pilate.

Verse 23. - Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not (comp. Isaiah 53:7). The Lord again and again denounced the hypocrisy and unbelief of the Pharisees; he bade Caiaphas remember the coming judgment. But that was the language of prophetic warning, the sternness of love. He sets before them the impending punishment, that they may take heed in time and escape from the wrath to come. In the midst of his strongest invective against the sins and hollow unreality of Pharisaism there is an outburst of the deepest love, the tenderest concern (Matthew 23:27). But committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. The verb "committed" παρεδίδου) is without an object in the original. Most commentators supply "himself," or "his cause;" others, "his sufferings;" some, as Alford, "those who inflicted them." Perhaps the last explanation is the best: he left them to God, to God's mercy, if it might be; to his judgment, if it must be. There may be a reference to his prayer, "Father, forgive them." Compare by contrast the language of Jeremiah, speaking in the spirit of the Old Testament (Jeremiah 11:20 and Jeremiah 20:12). There is a curious reading, entirely without the authority of existing Greek manuscripts, represented by the Vulgate, Tradebat judicanti se injuste, as if the words were understood of the Lord's submitting himself "to one who judged unrighteously," that is, to Pilate.

2:18-25 Servants in those days generally were slaves, and had heathen masters, who often used them cruelly; yet the apostle directs them to be subject to the masters placed over them by Providence, with a fear to dishonour or offend God. And not only to those pleased with reasonable service, but to the severe, and those angry without cause. The sinful misconduct of one relation, does not justify sinful behaviour in the other; the servant is bound to do his duty, though the master may be sinfully froward and perverse. But masters should be meek and gentle to their servants and inferiors. What glory or distinction could it be, for professed Christians to be patient when corrected for their faults? But if when they behaved well they were ill treated by proud and passionate heathen masters, yet bore it without peevish complaints, or purposes of revenge, and persevered in their duty, this would be acceptable to God as a distinguishing effect of his grace, and would be rewarded by him. Christ's death was designed not only for an example of patience under sufferings, but he bore our sins; he bore the punishment of them, and thereby satisfied Divine justice. Hereby he takes them away from us. The fruits of Christ's sufferings are the death of sin, and a new holy life of righteousness; for both which we have an example, and powerful motives, and ability to perform also, from the death and resurrection of Christ. And our justification; Christ was bruised and crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and by his stripes the diseases of our souls are cured. Here is man's sin; he goes astray; it is his own act. His misery; he goes astray from the pasture, from the Shepherd, and from the flock, and so exposes himself to dangers without number. Here is the recovery by conversion; they are now returned as the effect of Divine grace. This return is, from all their errors and wanderings, to Christ. Sinners, before their conversion, are always going astray; their life is a continued error.Who when he was reviled, reviled not again,.... When he was reproached as a glutton, a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners, all the reply he made was, that Wisdom is justified of her children; and when he was charged with casting out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he defended himself, not with bad language, but with strong reasonings; and when he was said to be a Samaritan, and had a devil, his only answer was, that he had not, that he honoured his Father, and they dishonoured him; and when he was reviled on the cross, by those that passed by, by the chief priests, and Scribes, and the thieves that were crucified with him, he made no return, he opened not his mouth, and much less in a recriminating way,

When he suffered he threatened not; when he endured buffetings, and scourgings in his body, when the officers in the palace of the high priests spit in his face, buffeted him, and smote him with the palms of their hands, and bid him prophesy who smote him, all which were very provoking; yet he said not one word to them, much less threatened them with what he would do to them for such usage another day, when he would let them know, with vengeance, who it was that smote him; no, he took all patiently from them, and from Pilate, and the Roman soldiers, when scourged by them; he gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair; and when he suffered crucifixion, and was put to such distressing pains and agonies, he did not threaten his crucifiers with a future judgment, when he would take vengeance, and execute his wrath upon them, but prays to his Father for the forgiveness of their sins: and, as it follows,

but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously; he commended his Spirit, or soul, to God his Father, and committed his cause to him, to vindicate it in what way he should think fit, who he knew was the Judge of all the earth, that would do right; and so the Syriac version supplies it with "his judgment": which he left with God, the righteous Judge, to whom vengeance belongs; and which is an example, and an instruction to the saints to do so likewise; not to render railing for railing, or to seek revenge, but to leave their cause with their God, who will, in his own time, avenge the wrongs and injuries done them. The Vulgate Latin version reads, contrary to all the Greek copies, and other versions, "but delivered himself to him that judgeth unjustly"; the sense of which is, that Christ delivered himself into the hands of Pilate, who unjustly condemned him to death; but is neither the reading, nor sense of the text.

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